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Multi use computer with lots of room to grow.

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August 20, 2012 7:05:01 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Today?

Budget Range: (e.g.: $900) After Rebates; After Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: General school work, gaming, internet, media. I need a computer for general school work right now. I want to try to get into gaming, I feel like the limitations of my past computer have me missing out on something. I also want a stable computer that can last a while as a general use home PC/media server.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes 22-24"? So much marketing I dont know what I am looking at here.

Parts to Upgrade: new build

Do you need to buy OS: Maybe, I plan on dual booting with Ubuntu and may start out with only linux until I need to get windows for school specific programs (GIS/statistics software) and gaming.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have been researching on Newegg but I have amazon prime for free shipping/no tax.

Location: Rural CA, no box stores near by.

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to upgrade to Intel CPU)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: probably not.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200. This is for a desk. hoping to get a second monitor later, so something that with a smaller non glossy bezel could be nice.

Additional Comments: no bling, quiet. Good cooling in higher ambient temperatures (the summers are killer here and I dont have aircon) I would also like a build that at its core will last a long time, even if it cant keep up with the latest games, I would like something that can stick around as a general use home PC for a while.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Moving on from a 10" netbook. Want to try to get into gaming.


The build I am looking at now is as follows:


Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Storage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


still need optical drive (or do I?) and monitor?
I welcome any suggestion on any of it.

questions I still have:
There are lots of motherboard options and I am not sure if I am am making a good choice. If you suggest something else please tell me why so I can learn.

Storage: Should I look at SATA3 HDD?
I would also like suggestions for SSDs though I may have to wait a little bit until I make that upgrade.

I need advice on a good monitor.

I am going to have to wait a bit until I can get a graphics card for the gaming but I would like suggestions for things to look at.
August 20, 2012 9:12:17 AM

That build you outlined is just to the left of perfect, here's what I would change.

Up the RAM frequency to 1600Mhz. Its only $3 more and performance will increase. 1600Mhz is the sweet spot for price to performance in RAM frequencies, below that the minimal savings inst worth the performance decrease, and above it isn't worth the added cost to minimal performance boost.
G.Skill Ares 8GB 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This kit is also low profile, so the EVO wont conflict with it and you could add in more without issue.

Seagate offers a Hard Drive that performs better for the same price. Has a SATA III interface and twice the cache size
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM. $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The SATA III interface on HDD's largely go's to waste as they can't even saturate SATA II, but its good to have nonetheless.

That case is a bit lacking in features such as Cable management. This is the case I recommend on a budget, doesnt have USB 3 like the Antec, but makes up for it elsewhere.
Zalman Z9. $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for a good GPU, I recommend the HD7770, 7850, GTX670 or HD7970 depending on your budget. Good manufacturers to pick from are Sapphire, MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS.

And for SSD's I recommend the OCZ Vertex 4. Its one of the fastest on the market and OCZ keeps pumping out updates to improve its performance, very reliable and priced competitively. Currently the 128GB model is $115 on Newegg.

As for monitors I am not as knowledgable. I'm sure someone else can help you with that.

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August 20, 2012 9:46:50 AM

manofchalk said:

G.Skill Ares 8GB 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This kit is also low profile, so the EVO wont conflict with it and you could add in more without issue.

Seagate offers a Hard Drive that performs better for the same price. Has a SATA III interface and twice the cache size
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM. $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The SATA III interface on HDD's largely go's to waste as they can't even saturate SATA II, but its good to have nonetheless.

That case is a bit lacking in features such as Cable management. This is the case I recommend on a budget, doesnt have USB 3 like the Antec, but makes up for it elsewhere.
Zalman Z9. $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks for the advice. I really like the advice on the HDD, just want to make sure it is also SATA2 compatible (revealing my ignorance).

The case you mentioned does have USB 3 and I like the temp monitor. Unfortunately I need a case with less bling. I dont really need a window. But the big problem is fans with LEDs, that blue gives me head aches. (And I like pure darkness when I sleep) Are there any other cases you would recommend in that price range?
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August 20, 2012 10:09:37 AM

SATA II and III are compatible with each other, you can plug a SATAIII device into a SATAII port, and vice versa and it will work fine. Though doing so on an SSD is not recommended, as SSD's actually use's SATAIII potential, so plugging it to a SATAII port will decrease its performance.

The temp monitor is the Z9+, which is another $20 or so. Neither case has USB3.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for a case without LED's, you are kind of out of luck. Most good cases have LED fans (which we gamers seem to love, mine's brighter than a Christmas tree). This case is fairly subdued and is very good, no LED fans. But does cost $30 more than the Z9 I showed you.
Corsair 300R. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair are very good case manufacturers, so you will know where your money went though. USB3 support, cable management, SSD support and all that.

Or maybe this case, no LED fans, but its a lot more aggressive in its aesthetics. Bit cheaper than the Corsair though and of similar quality. No USB3 unfortunately.
Coolermaster HAF 912. $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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August 20, 2012 6:19:52 PM

manofchalk said:

The temp monitor is the Z9+, which is another $20 or so. Neither case has USB3.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This case is fairly subdued and is very good, no LED fans. But does cost $30 more than the Z9 I showed you.
Corsair 300R. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair are very good case manufacturers, so you will know where your money went though. USB3 support, cable management, SSD support and all that.


I was confused because the video of the Z9 lists 2x USB 3.0 on the front.

I like that corsair but I wonder if only 4 internal drive bays does not limit expansion? Though an SSD and 3x HDD does not sound unreasonable. (something that has room for an additional SSD might make more sense.
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August 21, 2012 6:32:23 PM

I have started looking at Amazon to save money with free Prime shipping.

What I am looking at now:

i5-3570K:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SZ0E1K/ref=ox_sc_a...

Cooler Master 212 Evo:
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-120mm-RR-212E...

OCZ Vetex 4 128GB SSD:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R1FH3K/ref=ox_sc_a...

Seagate 2TB 7200 64mb SATA3:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005T3GRN2/ref=ox_sc_a...
(Should I just get a 1TB?)

Seasonic M12II 520W bronze PSU:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038T0V8Q/ref=ox_sc_a...
or
OCZ ModXStream pro 600W
http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-ModXStream-Modular-Performanc...
(cheaper but not bronze?)

Asus VS229H-P 21.5 ISP
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005S0XYKK/ref=ox_sc_a...

Have not found a good alternative from newegg for:

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skills Ares Series 8G 1600:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have still not found a good case. I keep on being swayed by arguments of better cases than the Antec One: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I want a case that is going to keep things cool and quiet. Has room for the Hyper 212 evo. I would really like USB on the front since I am often plugging in external drives) And has a minimum of bling. Think more workstation than gaming rig. My preference is for something that will be dark even though it is on. So no windows, no fans with lights. And I dont want it too much more expensive than the Antec One.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Does anyone have some suggestions?
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August 21, 2012 9:53:21 PM

The Antec 300 seems to be the only case at its price range with front USB3 ports. If you are set it on it, it wouldn't be a bad purchase.

As for 2TB vs 1TB, depends how much you use. Your the only one who can answer that.
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August 21, 2012 11:09:06 PM

manofchalk said:
The Antec 300 seems to be the only case at its price range with front USB3 ports. If you are set it on it, it wouldn't be a bad purchase.

As for 2TB vs 1TB, depends how much you use. Your the only one who can answer that.


Are there any downsides to the larger capacity HDDs? $28 for an additional 1TB seems like a great deal. Whats the catch?

Question maybe you can answer. Do I need to get thermal paste for the installation of the Hyper 212 Evo? Or does the CPU come with some in the box?

I am looking now at the Antec 302.

Do you have any recommendations towards the Motherboard?

I think its time for me to stop being swamped in the multitude of choices and just pick something.
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August 22, 2012 2:35:57 AM

I am wondering if anyone can give me some advice, with the rest of my build. Do I really need 520W or can I get by with 430W. I am looking at saving $20 by going with:
http://www.amazon.com/Seasonic-ATX12V-S12II-430-BRONZE/...
instead of:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038T0V8Q/ref=ox_sc_a...


I dont have a graphics card yet but I hope to have the money to install one in the next couple of months. I dont think it would be anything too outrageous (I wont have the money). I just dont know how to calculate how much is needed.
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August 22, 2012 6:50:03 AM

There is a small performance hit with larger HDD's, but its only very small and not really enough to be worried about. You have an SSD anyway so the HDD speed isn't all that important (I still recommend proper non-Green drives).
I imagine its just not that expensive to add another TB on to a HDD, so the price doesnt go up that much. But look at the price gap between 2 and 3TB drives, its much bigger (~$50 I think). So I imagine it cost significantly more to squeeze 3 platters into the drive than two.

The 212 EVO comes with some re-branded MX-5 Thermal paste. The stock CPU heatsink does have some pre-applied, but you dont want to use that.

The AsRock Z77 Extreme4 already listed is perfect. Has all the features you will need at a great price.

You could get by with 430W, but usually in a single card rig you go with 600W. I would go with the Seasonic 520W, it will leave you a better upgrade path. Though Seasonic are always very expensive due to the weight of their name, they are regarded as the best PSU manufacturer. So if you brand swap to something like Corsair (Very good manufacturer), you can get 650W for about the same price as the 520W.
Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80+ Bronze. $90
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Comp...

Or $3 more for the modular version.
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Perf...
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